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Review - Solemn Contract

Posted in Book Reviews on Jul 05, 2012

Solemn Contract

This review originally appeared at Speak Its Name.

James 'Jem' Bradley would do anything for his sister Meg. She's the only family he has after the two of them left their family in old England and immigrated to pre-revolutionary New England. They left over their father's objections to Meg's plan to marry Neil Iveson, and it seems daddy may have been right. Neil has taken all of their money, and borrowed more, to invest in a failed get-rich-quick scheme. Now the creditors are knocking at the door and threatening to send Neil to debtor's prison. With two children to support, there's no way Meg could survive on her own without Neil. The only way out seems to be for Jem to sell himself into indentured service for five years to pay off the debt.

Jem finds his indenture through one of the owners of the shipping company where Neil works, Amos Tanner, who is looking for a worker for one of the other farmers, Dan Wallace, in the inland settlement of Kennet. Although Tanner negotiates the indenture for Wallace, he sets his own sights on Bradley. Tanner, the father of two sons, has 'unnatural desires' as they put it, and Jem flames his desire like no-one else has for years. Tanner escorts Jem back to Kennet and turns him over to Wallace. More...

Review - Unspoken

Posted in Book Reviews on Jun 12, 2012

Unspoken

This review first appeared at Speak Its Name.

“Unspoken” is told from the point of view of Stefan, a 30-something working class man in a small-ish Dutch town. He is married with three children as the book opens, and if you asked him, he would probably say he's happy, except for the problem of finding work to provide for his family in the middle of the depression. Stefan has done what was expected of him; he got married to a good woman, fathered children, and does whatever work he can find to put food on the table for them. He doesn't know any better.

Then, one day in the dole queue, Stefan meets Adri, and it changes everything, or nothing. Stefan doesn't understand his feelings at first, and Adri for his part takes things slowly. Unlike Stefan, Adri has always known that he prefers the company of men, and only men. His stepfather threw him out on the street when Adri's predilections became clear, and he's managed to survive thanks to the mentoring of other men like him. More...

Review - Cawnpore

Posted in Book Reviews on May 30, 2012

Cawnpore

This review originally appeared at Speak Its Name.

Cawnpore picks up more or less where the author's previous work, The White Rajah, left off. Like the first book, this one takes the form of a memoir of the fictional John Williamson. Williamson has parted company with his employer and lover James Brooke after the inquiry into the battles that firmly established Brooke as the “White Rajah”. While Williamson is still in love with Brooke, the ghosts of all the people killed in Brooke's name has driven a firm wedge between them.

With a generous severance from Brooke, Williamson could easily return to England and a quiet life, but he's not quite ready to settle down and, intrigued by Brooke's own stories of India, he decides to stop there before going back to Britain. In Calcutta, he applies to work for the East India Company and is surprised to find he is readily accepted and assigned the post of Deputy Collector in Cawnpore. While Brooke did not have a very high opinion of “the Company”, they have certainly heard of his exploits in Sarawak, and have a high opinion of him, and by extension, Williamson.

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Review - Frost Fair

Posted in Book Reviews on Mar 29, 2012

Frost Fair

Gideon Frost is a man skating on thin ice, almost literally. The young printer is barely keeping his business together, and his creditors are circling outside his door. He's only just getting by, and when the need arises he's not above selling his body for a few shillings to make ends meet. His one More...

Review - The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Band of Thebes

Posted in Book Reviews on Mar 24, 2012

The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Band of Thebes opens on that fateful day on the plain of Chaeronea, when Philip and his golden son wipe out almost all of the Sacred Band. Almost all, for although badly wounded, Nikanoras still lives, much to his shame. Alexander finds him and More...

Review - Eromenos

Posted in Book Reviews on Mar 05, 2012

The story of Hadiran and Antinous has provided great fodder for gay historical romance. After all, there are few male historical figures that we know had sexual relationships. Even Alexander and Hephastion may have enjoyed a purely platonic affair. But that Antinous was Hadrian's sexual partner there can be little doubt. The many memorials left by Hadrian to Antinous seems to suggest there More...

Review - Gaius and Achilles

Posted in Book Reviews on Feb 12, 2012

Gaius and Achilles

It's not often anymore that a book catches me completely by surprise, taking turns that you just don't expect an historical romance to take. "Gaius and Achilles" surprised me, and I don't mind saying right up front it was quite a pleasant surprise.

We're More...

Review - Achilles: A Love Story

Posted in Book Reviews on Feb 03, 2012

The Greek era has always been one of my favorites for historical romance. Perhaps it's because Mary Ranault's Alexander books were the first historical novels with a gay bent I ever read, or maybe it's just because it was a time when love between men was not More...

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